Earth mounds in southeastern Australia

23rd January 2014

Map showing location of earth mounds in southeast Australia (published in Australian Archaeology 42:39).

Map showing location of earth mounds in southeast Australia (published in Australian Archaeology 42:39).

Jane Balme and Wendy Beck

Introduction*

Earth mounds are pre-European heaps of raised dirt, which consist mainly of charcoal rich sediment with fragments of burnt clay. The two objectives of this paper are to describe the earth mounds which occur in the Macquarie Marshes in northern New South Wales and to advance a speculative hypothesis that the earth mounds in southeastern Australia could have functioned as gardens.

Over a thousand of these mounds have been recorded in southeastern Australia. Most have been recorded from the Murray Valley but many occur on the Murimbidgee River and in the western districts of Victoria (Fig. 1). Mounds appear to be associated with major waterways but their distribution in New South Wales is patchy. Despite extensive surveys, they have not been found in all riverine environments. For example, no mounds occur in the floodplain of the lower Darling River (Balme and Hope 1990)

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Balme, J. and W. Beck
Earth mounds in southeastern Australia
June 1996
42
39–51
Article
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